In 2004, I wrote a poem called "O Pen" and performed it at an open mic. Mid-way through Pacific University's MFA program, I decided I needed a way to discuss poems I was studying or wanted to know more about. O Pen sounded like a perfect name for such a group, and we have been meeting each week, since February 2008. I dedicate my musings to the creative, thoughtful and intelligent people who attend and to those who enjoy delving into the magic of a poem!
I picked the first Whitman for the conceit... have you ever thought of having a dialogue with rain? And what would you ask, and what would you imagine the response?
This is a many-layered poem and brought out a many-layred response.
Li-young Lee: look at adjectives... how they slow us down... father allows him to carry peaches...
O sounds... emulating mouth...
Robert Bly: important to know the back story of why he dedicated the poem to James Wright who stumbled into a classroom to hear some Rilke.
People LIKE us. vs. People like (resembling) us. Not just about poets.
What is greatness? The comfort of knowing one is not alone in being human... and making mistakes
is not necessarily a bad thing.
The Wall is one of those poems which allows several conjectures of story-- and what it is
that is overheard... the image of jellyfish, potentially dangerous, as thoughts "passed secretly between people" is highly unsettling... what separates one human from another? A thin, dry/// wall
except we are all swimming... weeping... tangled in seaweed...
Stallings' poem is more accessible and the kind of witty but deep poem I like, taking "tense"
as mood in speech and emotional intensity. I love the "curse in the fricative" -- for the sound
of it, feeling the teeth against the lip and how we make the "f-word"...
The Dalliance of Eagles reminds me of other collective nouns for birds... murder of crows,
murmuration of starlings... but here,ho there is nothing casual about two eagles mating...
such a contrast with Li-Young Lee's observation of peaches...
I look forward to reading the rest of the Stone poems by Richard Hugo... Who collects stones?
Who attaches "luck" to objects... Maura was reminded of the Israel Emiot poem, translated by Leah Zazulyer (on Poets Walk): " A stone also hears" which comes
from the Yiddish saying, "As alone as a stone -- a beautifully rendered